Blog 4: Peggy Guggenheim Collection

A major part of my learning curve to discover what drives artists to create the works they do and to understand the content has, over the past year, involved something of a study tour of galleries both in Australia and overseas. These have included the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery in London as well as impressive university collections and other public collections in Princeton, San Francisco, Coventry and Copenhagen.

I now realise what an enormous challenge it must be for artists to present the human form or the landscape in an original way. Those who do find such inspiration sit apart from those who seem content to reference the great painters of the past, perhaps unable to find a new way of interpreting their feelings about the subject matter in front of them. The legacy of Chagall, Bacon, Monet and Picasso for example lives on in many contemporary artists in Australia and overseas.

Although we have visited Venice in the past individually, neither of us has previously visited the Peggy Guggenheim Collection housed in her former home and palace on the banks of the Grand Canal which was just across from our hotel. A short ferry ride to one of the most important collections in Italy featuring European and American artists from the first half of the 20th Century. We spent hours poring over paintings by Braque, Kandinsky, Pollock, Dali and others as well as sculptures by Calder and Giacometti.

Peggy Guggenheim was a New York socialite, renowned for her passion for paintings and men! She collected primarily during the period from 1938-46 and settled in Venice in 1949 after the war and her divorce from artist Max Ernst. Interestingly, her father Benjamin, I learned drowned in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

More next week, Geoff


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